We just had a couple of light (and much welcomed) rain days in Ramallah, which may be the last rain days we see for several months. Apparently the average rain fall is around 40 cm annually (~ 15.7 inches) and very little of it comes between April and October. As such, not much progress was made on the ground.
We spent our time interviewing and negotiating with several local contractors and builders to find the most suitable candidate for the upcoming work. On the design side, we completed the as-built survey of the site and the cut / fill calculations, which showed that we have a total cut and haul-off volume of 1,951 cubic meters, and I got word that the final geotechnical report has been completed with foundation design recommendations.
Today was a beautiful spring day with sunny skies and temperatures around 18 degrees Celsius. Here's what the site looks like:
(view from the proposed road looking south - site looks relatively dry)
The last couple of items we need before we can begin are temporary site utilities. We paid dues for water and electricity, and are waiting on pipes to arrive at the water company (apparently the last shipment they got did not meet specifications, so the water company currently has no pipes for extending main lines), and for the temporary electric meter test to be conducted (scheduled for Wednesday) before we can receive power.
A site visit today gave me hope about the status of the water pipes arriving. I'm hoping the pictures below mean that the water company is expecting to lay pipe tomorrow, and not that we're going to have an open trench for many days to come:
(trench for new water main, roughly in the middle of the proposed street)
(location of future temporary water meter, to be installed on the wall at our request)
As soon as the trench in the street is closed back up, we've contracted with a blacksmith to pay a visit to the site and help turn the shipping container into an office with actual doors and windows. Stay tuned.